August 19, 2022


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Sarah Browning: Defense mechanism helps make cukes bitter | House & Back garden


Environmental strain brought on by intense conditions can develop bitterness in cucumbers.

Summer time is in entire swing and so is harvest in the vegetable yard, with the very first summertime squash, zucchini and cucumbers. In a lot of smaller towns, before long you will not be capable to depart your automobile parked with the home windows rolled down or you may possibly appear back again to locate the front seat comprehensive of zucchini or cucumbers!

Equally cucumbers and zucchini are members of the Cucurbit loved ones, which also features pumpkins, melons, squash and gourds. Bitterness is a prevalent challenge of zucchini and cucumber and pretty disheartening to gardeners who have carefully tended the vegetation for several weeks, only to obtain the vegetables too bitter to eat. What leads to this bitterness?


All cucurbits make chemicals identified as cucurbitacins, which trigger the vegetables to flavor bitter and served as a defense in opposition to plant-having wildlife. Cucurbitacin also contributes to the musky scent of cantaloupe. Naturally, bigger cucurbitacin concentrations result in vegetables to be extra bitter. Wild cucurbits, including wild cucumber and buffalo gourd, have these bigger ranges they are inedible.

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In commercially cultivated cucumbers and zucchini, plants have been bred with low cucurbitacin concentrations producing the veggies additional delicious for us.

Gentle bitterness

Environmental worry — high temperatures, extensive temperature swings or also little h2o — can result in delicate bitterness. This is a prevalent incidence, especially in later summertime, and is brought on by greater cucurbitacin concentrations triggered by environmental pressure. Uneven watering tactics (as well moist followed by way too dry), low soil fertility and minimal soil pH are also doable strain factors.